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The sad reality is that team members in different roles see each other with different eyes.

The above link presents a very true picture of how we regard each other in the SDLC. However the truth is that as a team, we need each other to perform in order to succed. And by working together rather than against each other, your performance as a team increase exponentially.

As a team member (leader, head, coworker) who understands this, how should one manage to create an atmosphere of respect for each other's role in the process?

For example, how do you get developers to understand the importance of QA testers and the value of designers? How do you get designers to value developer input? etc...

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Are you able to identify the reason why people are working against each other? Lack of team spirit? Low morale? If you can identify that cause then the solution may be easier to spot. –  Mike Sep 23 '11 at 16:48
    
@Mike its not a personal issue. Its more like a culture thing. Every role feels itself more important than others (regardless of salary). Everyone feels others don't work as hard as THEY do. Whether this is true or not, everyone plays a critical role in the entire process. –  AJC Sep 23 '11 at 16:51
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That picture is so full of win. –  Becuzz Sep 23 '11 at 16:57
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Picture is hilarious... but they forgot DBA's and Ops (both very rich veins for parody) –  Angelo Sep 23 '11 at 17:22
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are a few different ideas that come to mind here:

  1. How valued is respect within the culture? How is this value demonstrated? Is there teasing that is intended to build closeness or is it designed to harden someone?

  2. How well are you living these out? Are you supporting others that demonstrate these values? What part do you have in all of this?

  3. Be careful of putting any role as higher than others. There may be times where QA is a hero and there may be times where a developer is a hero. Each role has its place but equally valid is how some people may have to take on multiple roles in the course of a project as a developer may have to also be a tester or a tester may also have to do some business analysis work.

How to Win Friends and Influence People notes 3 key characteristics when dealing with people:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Now, while this may seem like common sense consider how well do you see these lived out around you. Are people often complaining? The link above does have other suggestions for influencing people's behaviors or making people like you that may be worth considering here.

I'd be tempted to suggest having many 1:1 conversations with people either away from the office or in a somewhat private room if you want to try to get to the bottom of what is really happening. Perhaps some people think that acting arrogant will get more respect or that the tough guy seems to get more favors than being the nice guy for a couple of ideas. If you are trying to battle ignorance then you could try seeing if other people could take on a different role and see how hard it can be or work very closely with someone to get a better idea of what does that role contain.

If you want something a bit more academic, Group development would be a starting point as there are multiple theories you could try to use if you want to go down that road. An alternative idea would to try to get each person to identify various strengths and weaknesses that they have which should be noted to leverage the best out of each person in the team. Marcus Buckingham's book, "Go Put Your Strengths to Work," discusses a myth of, "A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team. " versus, "A good team member deliberately volunteers their strengths to the team most of the time." 3 Myths About Strengths and Weaknesses would be a blog post about the book.

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+1 for referencing Dale Carnegie in an answer related to soft skills. –  DaveFar Sep 23 '11 at 17:42
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First make sure that the different teams are actually good. Our (outsourced) QA is a complete waste of space, so can understand why nobody here trusts them.

If you get a more junior person who thinks they can do everything, give them everything. They will probably drown and realise they need help.

When hiring you need to take this into consideration too, also ofen the more experienced will have learned to trust team members and work together.

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As a developer at a small company without a dedicated QA department, I feel I would appreciate learning about more problems before they get into a production system. Then I could fix the problems without the pressure of having a live broken system.

It should help to understand how the other roles add value to one's work.

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+1 for personal experience example. –  AJC Sep 26 '11 at 13:30
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I love the picture, but instead of assuming that we all view incorrect negative stereotypical persona's of people in other roles, assume for a second that instead there is a seed of truth in EVERY ONE of those picture captions.

There are good/bad developers, designers, PM's, and QA no matter where you go.

The best of us are as glowing as some of the captions suggest, however the worst of us actually are in reality the negative stereotype that perpetuates itself. This is compounded by the fact that everybody is biased to think that they really are awesome at what they do.

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This is true, but as a developer I am quilty of this as well, even against good designers, I still believed my work was more valuable. AS I grew more experienced, ofcourse this view changed to respect every role in the process. And now that I might be making a shift into a more managerial role, I want to avoid this behavior in my team, especially in inexperienced team members... –  AJC Sep 23 '11 at 16:56
    
@AJC, Teammembers are going to gossip and complain to each other, become unsatisfied and leave. They will be disenfranchised no matter what you do until they become more experienced and realize that the grass is either dead or a thirsty brown pretty much wherever you go so you might as well love the one your with. You can help mitigate this by treating them with respect and dignity. Don't try to be their friend, just respect them and they will in turn respect you if they are decent people. –  maple_shaft Sep 23 '11 at 17:28
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